Comprehensive News Analysis – 19 January 2017

Table of Contents:

A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:

1. India, Sri Lanka in talks on port

2. India, China can help each other: Jaishankar

C. GS3 Related:

1. Container Corp., Nippon Express partner for freight

2. Regional connectivity plan nets proposals to revive 65 airports

D. GS4 Related:
E. Important Editorials : A Quick Glance

The Hindu

1. The hard road to Brexit

Business Line

1. CITU is wrong

Economic Times

1. Government can’t afford universal basic income; NREGA is the dole it’s looking for

PIB

1. Minister of Railways Unveils Mission 41k

2. Digi Dhan Mela held at Jammu evokes massive public participation

3. Soon Young to Enliven Namami Gange

F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
I. Archives

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Useful News Articles

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
1. India, Sri Lanka in talks on port

Category: International Relations  

Topic: Indian and its Neighbourhood- Relations

Key Points:

  • Sri Lanka is in talks to offer the port of Trincomalee to India.
  • It has been acknowledged by Mr Fonseka who is Sri Lanka’s minister of Regional Development that the Trincomalee port, is one of the best deep sea ports in the world.
  • It is important to note that Trincomalee has been on the table for sometime as Sri Lanka wants to maintain a neutral stand and provide equal access to its ports to both China and India.
  • Mr Fonseka also said that Sri Lanka’s experience with the Chinese, who carried out major infrastructural work at the Hambantota port in southern coast of the island nation, has put a heavy burden on the country.

 

2. India, China can help each other: Jaishankar

Category: International Relations 

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Key Points:

  • Recently, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar raised India’s concerns over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
  • It is important to note that China and Pakistan have fast-tracked the construction work of the CPEC. A large part of the CPEC passes through PoK.
  • Once completed, the CPEC will provide an all-weather energy route for China from the Gulf.
  • Further, it is important to note that the Gwadar port of Balochistan, will serve as the entry point to CPEC.

 

C. GS3 Related
1. Container Corp., Nippon Express partner for freight

Category: Indian Economy  

Topic: International Trade

Key Points:

  • India entered into a collaboration with Japan for providing scheduled freight rail services between Delhi and Bengaluru.
  • Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has picked logistics firm Nippon Express to collaborate with Indian Railways and Container Corporation of India for providing rail services that will transport finished cars as well as general cargo.
  • The project is aimed at improving rail freight services and hope this project is expanded throughout the country and not only on the Delhi-Bengaluru sector.

Quick Note on Japan’s Assistance:

  • It is important to note that the Japanese government is also supporting India’s high-speed bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
  • Of an estimated ₹97,636 crore, 81% of the funding for the 508-km project will come in as a loan from Japan.
  • Further, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is providing assistance to the Indian Railways in the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor.

 

  1. Regional connectivity plan nets proposals to revive 65 airports

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Infrastructure

Key Points:

  • As part of the Centre’s ambitious regional connectivity scheme, airlines have shown interest in flying out of airports such as Hosur, Bikaner, Bidar, Jalandhar, Jalgaon, Jaisalmer, etc.
  • Passengers may soon be able to fly out of these airports by paying Rs. 2,500 for an hour’s flight.
  • The Airports Authority of India, is implementing the regional connectivity scheme.
  • As per the scheme, the Centre will subsidise the losses incurred by airlines flying out of dormant airports, to allow airlines to charge Rs. 2,500 for an hour’s flight to passengers.

 

D. GS4 Related
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
The Hindu
  1. The hard road to Brexit

Category: Indian Economy

Topic: Money and Banking, International Trade   

Key Points:

  • Recently, British Priime Minister Theresa May gave a speech on her government’s plans for Britain’s exit from the EU.
  • In her speech, she painted the first stroke on the negotiation canvas: Britain had chosen a “hard Brexit”. 
  • It would leave the single market and with it gain more control over its borders and its laws, some of which are currently under the oversight of the European Courts of Justice. This, Ms. May said, is what the people had chosen. 

What the U.K would do?

  • The U.K. would seek to negotiate a deal that would give it as much access to the single market without being a part of it.
  • It would seek a modified customs union membership to be able to negotiate its own trade treaties with non-EU countries, and build what the Prime Minister called a “truly global Britain”.
  • May spoke of her country’s good intentions for the continent and her optimism for a good deal with Europe, but said she would accept a no-deal over a bad one.
  • Significantly, she warned that it would be “calamitously” harmful to Europe if it penalised the U.K. for leaving. 

Concluding Remarks

  • It is important to note that the EU, which according to recent data accounts for approximately half the U.K.’s imports and exports, is likely to be significantly important to it after the exit.
  • Trade deals with non-EU countries such as India are likely to involve greater movement of people across borders and this is bound to raise difficult immigration issues again.

 

Business Line

1. CITU is wrong

Category: Indian Economy  

Topic: Trade Unions

Key Points:

  • The Centre had recently decided to dissolve the Board of Industrial Finance and Reconstruction.
  • In response to this development, The Centre of Indian Trade Unions has termed this decision as ‘destructive’.
  • It has been suggested that the trade union, affiliated to the CPI(M), has based its criticism on an under-informed understanding of the effectiveness of BIFR to turn around ailing companies and preserve jobs.
  • It is important to note that a major concern of CITU is job losses in ailing companies when they are referred to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) or the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) because they may inevitably face closure.
  • The trade union has claimed that these companies became sick mostly due to faulty policies of the Government as well as deliberate non-enforcement of statutory regulatory mechanisms.

The Way Ahead

  • CITU must however understand that industrial units become sick for a variety of reasons — change in government policies is only one.
  • Other causes include a change in demand caused by the introduction of better products, the changing tastes of consumers, the inability of the company to keep costs down and adapt to changes in the market, as well as product safety concerns and regulations.
  • CITU should understand that the interest of workers is better served where failed businesses are allowed to die and their resources reinvested in a new venture.
  • The Companies Act 2013 and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code of 2016 provide a new framework to rescue ailing businesses and protect the interests of affected workers.
  • All businesses will not succeed, and it is only prudent that those that fail are closed and their assets and other resources reassigned to more effective ends.


Economic Times

1. Government can’t afford universal basic income; NREGA is the dole it’s looking for

Category: Indian Economy  

Topic: Government Policy  

Key Points:

  • The government is reported to be considering a social security scheme in which it would introduce either a universal basic income or a dole restricted to the most vulnerable.
  • It is important to note that a universal basic income can be afforded only by a highly developed economy where government expenditure already accounts for upwards of 40% of GDP and tax collections are not far behind.
  • Whereas, India, with a tax/GDP ratio of less than 17%, is not in a position even to fairly fund basic healthcare and physical infrastructure, besides sovereign functions of defence, internal security, currency and external relations..
  • It has been observed by certain experts that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), is not an employment scheme, but a dole.
  • Unfortunately, in the course of its implementation and thanks to faulty legal interventions, the original purpose of NREGA has become diffused.

The Way Forward

  • It has been suggested that the task now is to refocus attention on the original NREGA scheme, channelling payments for work done under the scheme to Aadhaar-linked bank or post office accounts.

 

PIB

1. Minister of Railways Unveils Mission 41k 

Category: Polity and Governance, Indian Economy  

Topic: Government Initiatives, Infrastructure  

Key Points:

  • Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu unveiled Mission 41k during the Roundtable Discussion with External Stakeholders on Energy Initiatives of Indian Railways.
  • Shri Suresh Prabhu said that Ministry of Railways has come up with Mission 41k to save Rs. 41000 crore in the next decade in Railways’ energy costs.
  • To implement this comprehensive strategy with the participation of various stakeholders, we shall take advantage of regulatory frameworks, look at new technologies. He said that this is an opportunity to relook at everything and determine an ideal baseline. All electrification works done in the last decade would be doubled and this would change the energy mix of Indian Railways. Indian Railways has set a target of 1000 MW of solar power and 200 MW of wind energy.

Background:

  • India’s economy has seen unprecedented growth during the last decade with average growth of 7–8% per annum in last few years. With economic growth, the passenger and freight traffic on the Indian Railways is expected to grow from 3,635 billion passenger kilometres and 961 billion tonne kilometres respectively in 2005 to 19,427 billion passenger kilometres and 6,677 billion tonne kilometres respectively by 2030 i.e., an increase of more than 6 folds.
  • Rail as a mode of transport needs to enhance its capacity. The saturation of capacity of the Indian Railways on the Golden Quadrilateral has weighed heavily on the mind of Indian policymakers while taking the decision to construct dedicated freight corridors (Dedicated Freight Corridor). The construction of these Dedicated Freight Corridors would enable the Indian Railways to meet the growing demand for freight transport and induce a modal shift of freight traffic from road to rail. Since both corridors are to have more energy efficient locos powered by electric traction, the completion of Dedicated Freight Corridor project would lead to higher operational efficiency, resulting in substantial energy saving and significant reduction of GHG emissions. 
  • Energy is a vital input for production and growth. Considering universal energy access and energy security as one of the fundamental development goals for the country, Government of India (GoI) has undertaken a two pronged approach – energy efficiency and Reduction in cost of energy. India has a definite plan for progressing more towards use of cleaner energy and factor in energy efficiency in its usage. Railways are taking number of steps to reduce energy consumption by using various energy-efficient technologies.
  • Although, rail as a mode of transport has less specific energy consumption than road for passenger and freight movement, the share of the road sector in Indian transport has witnessed a steady rise at the cost of the rail sector.
  • Speed of railway traffic has been increasing gradually, however for ensuring sustained efforts in the direction of substantial increase in the speed of freight and passenger traffic, and time bound delivery, Ministry of Railways have launched Mission Raftaar. To achieve the objectives of higher speed under Mission Raftaar, Ministry of Railways are also manufacturing energy efficient high horsepower electric locomotives and Electric Multiple Units at our plants in Madhepura, Kancharapara and Diesel locomotives factory at Marhaura. These locomotives shall be manufactured in India under the ‘Make in India’ program of the government. Looking at the future needs of this fast growing nation, it has been decided to upgrade speed potential on some routes to 160 kmph. For this, 2×25 kV Electrification system shall be implemented.
  • Railway has plans to change its energy mix and shall be using Green Energy. Railway is going to install solar and wind plants for using green energy on its system. To change energy mix towards Green energy in a phased manner, Ministry of Railways plan to set up 1000 MW solar and about 200 MW wind plants.
  • Development of new technologies shall provide opportunities for new innovations by entrepreneurs and local industries shall support the government’s ‘Stand up India’ program. This discussion will help the Indian Railways to explore new energy-efficient technologies and develop a roadmap for sustainable future growth.
  • For taking forward these deliberation, this roundtable discussion has been organised in the field of Railway Electrification, Energy Management, Fuel Efficiency and Electric & Diesel Traction. These discussions will help Indian Railways meet its goal to serve people in a more effective and efficient manner.

 

  1. Digi Dhan Mela held at Jammu evokes massive public participation

Category: Polity and Governance

Topic: Government Initiatives

Key Points:

  • The Digi Dhan mela, a Government of India initiative aimed at incentivizing digitally enabled transformation in the country following the recent demonetization was held on 17th January, 2017.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Dr Jitendra Singh Union Minister in PMO emphasized the need of digitization in the country for easy transfer of money. Digitization will pave way for a new revolution in which paper currency will be replaced by digital transactions thus proving beneficial to curb black money, he added. 
  • Jitendra Singh, further informed that the Union Government is contemplating to merge Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Smart Phones for boosting the economy of the country and for the easy transfer of money.
  • In a few years, the mindset of the common masses would have a drastic change to adopt the digital technologies. 

 

  1. Soon Young to Enliven Namami Gange 

Category: Polity and Governance  

Topic: Government Initiatives

Key Points:

  • The young will soon beckon the residents and visitors along Ganga to inculcate clean practises! In what is aimed at generating widespread awareness on ails of polluting river Ganga, a cadre of thousands of youths will be groomed as volunteers to be deployed in villages along the river to raise clean Ganga consciousness among the local dwellers and visitors.
  • The step which is being taken under central government’s flagship Namami Gange programme emphasizes on using the zeal of the young to engender support of people from all walks of life in conservation of the river, which faces rapid contamination from domestic and industrial effluents.
  • Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), an autonomous organisation under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has been entrusted with the task of building capacities of more than 20, 000 young men and women from Ganga basin states, so that they can represent Namami Gange programme as “Swachhta Doots”.
  • From over 20,000 informed youth motivators, as many as 50 enthusiastic spearhead campaigners would be identified and trained for a week. These ace campaigners will then be asked to lead this army of the young in their assigned jurisdictions in spreading the message of clean Ganga. All this will be done in consultation with village youth clubs.
  • The youth, once trained, would exhort and motivate local population and tourists to refrain from polluting river Ganga. They will be the new wheels on which clean Ganga awareness campaign would ride. The Swachhta Doots would not only educate the target audience about the adverse consequences of polluting Ganga but will also be an asset in providing information on existing government activities like construction of toilets, water harvesting and conservation for creation of a comprehensive database in coordination with National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the implementing arm of Namami Gange programme.
  • The project envisages deployment of the youth in 29 districts spanning about 2,336 villages along the river in Ganga basin States of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. One project officer will be assigned to each district. The project has been approved at an estimated cost of Rs 10 crore.


F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
  • Namami Gange
  • Mission Raftaar



H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Consider the following statements,
  1. The Airports Authority of India, is implementing the regional connectivity scheme.
  2. As per the scheme, the Centre will subsidise the losses incurred by airlines flying out of dormant airports, to allow airlines to charge Rs. 2,500 for an hour’s flight to passengers.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

A) 1 Only

B) 2 Only

C) Both 1 and 2

D) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 2: Consider the following statements,
  1. Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), is an autonomous organisation under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
  2. The Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) has been entrusted with the task of building capacities of more than 20, 000 young men and women from Ganga basin states, so that they can represent Namami Gange programme as “Swachhta Doots”.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

A) 1 Only

B) Both 1 and 2

C) 2 Only

D) Neither 1 nor 2

Question 3: ‘Mission Raftaar’ appearing frequently in the news is associated with which Ministry?

A) The Ministry of Railways

B) The Ministry of Shipping

C) The Ministry of Transport

D) The Ministry of Civil Aviation

Question 4: The port of ‘Gwadar’ appearing frequently in the news is located in which country?

A) Pakistan

B) India

C) Sri Lanka

D) Iran

Question 5: Consider the following statements,
  1. The Chinese, have carried out major infrastructural work at the ‘Hambantota’ port in southern coast of Sri Lanka.
  2. The ‘Trincomalee’ port is located in Myanmar.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

A) 1 Only

B) Both 1 and 2

C) 2 Only

D) Neither 1 nor 2

Check Your Answers

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